Washington teenager Cherelle LaGrou, 18, loved going on hikes multiple days a week with her friends.
She was living in Alaska for the summer, working as a hotel housekeeper, but enjoyed going on adventures whenever possible.
One week in particular, her friends were all working. Deciding she wanted to view waterfalls, she trekked out near Denali National Park alone.
But soon, Cherelle started getting nervous about the slippery rocks near her and decided to call her mom, Shelly, to help calm her down.
Her mom instructed her to put her phone somewhere safe so that she could use both her hands for balance.
She did as instructed. However, about 15 minutes into the phone call, Cherelle suddenly began screaming.
She wasn’t answering her mom’s questions anymore, and she wasn’t telling her what was going on. But soon, Shelly was able to calm her daughter down just enough to stop her from screaming.
Then she learned that Cherelle had slipped off the side of a cliff and had fallen over 30 feet.
Cherelle continued to cry hysterically over the phone, telling her mother she wasn’t ready to die. From where she was, she would have never been able to call for help.
She was able to stop herself from continuing to slide down the hill, but she wasn’t able to move up or down the side of cliff.
“I am not sure what she found to get a finger hold to stop herself in the slide,” Shelly said. “She had her feet against the rock wall, which was a rock surface. It was rocky, icy down below.”
Cherelle’s dad Joe quickly got a hold of the hotel, who immediately notified state troopers. While waiting for rescuers to arrive, Shelly started praying with her daughter as she grew tired of clinging to the rock.
“I knew that just one wrong slip any second, and I’d be hearing her scream again and she’d be gone,” she said.
Thankfully, after 15 minutes, troopers arrived. And just as Shelly heard the sound of a rescuer talking to her daughter, Cherelle’s phone died.
Although she knew rescuers had found her daughter, Shelly worried for the next 45 minutes while she waited for the news.
And after a difficult 45 minute rescue, Cherelle was able to call her back to let her know she was safe. “You don’t know if you’re talking to your child for the last time,” Shelly later said. “It was a miracle.”
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